Okay. This is just a very quick, light, loose 15M of The Prestige. My goal here was actually to write a shorter parody than usual, particularly because the movie was so complicated, and it ended up being a shade longer than Van Helsing and taking only a few hours. Which means that I'm happy. It's not meant to be a paragon of accuracy, chronological or otherwise, so please don't email me about how tea with Sarah was before she married Borden or whatever. As usual, this was written with only one viewing of the movie in the theater--yesterday. (See also: all the other parodies online.)
Please: if you haven't seen the movie yet, go see it. Don't spoil yourself here if you don't know what happens. It's awesomely fantastic, so don't cheat yourself out of a good time. The parody is a vastly simplified version of the storyline, which is far more complicated and subtle than what you read here might lead you to believe.
(Yeah, I'm a little nervous about whether this is any good or not, so I'll shut up and clear out now. Enjoy.)
P.S. Still no word on a North American release of the book (my book). Sadface.
A Pile of Top Hats in the Snow
CUTTER [voiceover]: There are three parts to a magic trick: the part where you bring out something ordinary that isn't really, the part where you do something extraordinary that really isn't, and the part where you bring something ordinary back that was really there the whole time. Ideally, there will also be hot magicians and death feuds, but these are entirely optional. Fortunately, we at The Prestige are looking out for you.
The Trial of Alfred Borden
BORDEN: I didn't kill Robert Angier!
PROSECUTOR: You were found under the stage watching as Angier drowned in a locked tank of water!
BORDEN: But I didn't put the tank there! I didn't lock him in! I actually screamed for help and looked for the key! Everyone in the theater heard me!
PROSECUTOR: Yes, but we refuse to believe anything you say, because, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, this man is not only a magician himself, he is also... low-class.
EVERYONE: GASP !
OWENS: I'm a solicitor--
BORDEN: --who's come to help me beat this murder rap?
OWENS: No, you're pretty much going to hang. Besides, that's a different kind of lawyer. No, I represent an aristocratic collector who is also an amateur magician, and he is willing to pay for your secrets.
OWENS: And your young daughter.
OWENS: Who will go to the workhouse otherwise.
BORDEN: ... Maybe.
The Journal of the Journal of Alfred Borden
[Borden settles down in his cell to mull it over and read the late Angier's journal, which the solicitor has helpfully handed over as a show of "good faith" that does not seem suspicious at all.]
Cooling heels in Colorado Springs, looking for Tesla. Decoding Borden's journal sucks, but determined to find out if Borden intentionally killed my wife, what his big professional secret is, and possibly why he turned out to be such an asshat.
© 2006 Cleolinda Jones. cleolinda.livejournal.com
Don't know if I intentionally killed Angier's wife. I feel bad for her, but he is kind of an asshat. Hope he never finds out my big professional secret, which is that Teykxw Uhkwxg bl mhmteer mph bwxgmbvte ukhmaxkl pah ikxmxgw mh ux hgx znr tgw ftdx xoxkrhgx xelx fblxktuex.
DAMMIT!Death-Defying Water Tank Escape #1
[Back in the day, Angier and Borden are working as assistants planted in Milton the magician's audience. Angier's wife, Julia, is Milton's assistant. The big trick in Milton's act involves Angier and Borden "volunteering" to tie Julia up, Julia being lowered into a tank of water, and Julia then "magically" escaping after a curtain is lowered. Cutter, the ingeneur who designed the trick, always watches from the wings. The interesting thing is that none of this involves any actual effort on Milton's part.]
ANGIER: Hey, Borden, could you not
put my wife in mortal peril?© 2006 Cleolinda Jones. Please quote or link back, do not repost. cleolinda.livejournal.com
BORDEN: Look, Julia's a big girl. If she says she can handle a tougher knot, she can handle it. Besides, Cutter's always offstage with an axe just in case something goes wrong. Surely she can hold her breath for sixty seconds until the curtain goes back up, and then Cutter can break the glass and we can get her out. Which we won't have to, because Julia can totally handle it. Besides, it's an awesome
knot.That Evening, Scoping Out the Competition
ANGIER: I have no idea how the hell Chinese Guy just did that.
BORDEN: See, he's totally faking being a cripple, because he's actually strong enough to hide a bowl of goldfish between his knees so he can just pull it up out from under his robe during his act. But he has to pretend to be a cripple all the time
in order to make that one trick work, which is not only completely hardcore and
metaphorically apt, it's totally obvious.
ANGIER: ... Yeah.Scenes from the Angier Marriage
JULIA: Is that a fishbowl between your knees, or are you just happy to see me?© 2006 Cleolinda Jones. Please quote or link back, do not repost. cleolinda.livejournal.com
ANGIER: *wrestles fishbowl*
JULIA: Hey! Hey! I thought of a stage name you could use, so you won't have to embarrass your aristocratic family! The Great Danton.
ANGIER: But that's French.
JULIA: So is "Angier," genius
JULIA: About time!Milton's Magical Matinee
[Borden's reward for figuring out the Chinese Fishbowl Trick is that he gets to assist Milton onstage. A young woman, Sarah, has brought her nephew to see the show, but the little boy is inconsolable after Milton brutally flattens a cage to make a bird disappear, and then makes the bird--or at least a
SARAH: Don't cry! It's all right, see? It was just a trick! The bird went up his sleeve or something and then came back down, the bird's all right!
BORDEN: No, actually, the kid's right. The original bird is totally smushed.
BORDEN: You wanna go out sometime?© 2006 Cleolinda Jones. Please quote or link back, do not repost. cleolinda.livejournal.com
THE NEPHEW: *sobs*Death-"Defying" Water Tank "Escape" #2
[The knot is a little less awesome and the glass is a little harder to break than previously assumed. Oops?]Julia's Funeral
ANGIER: Which knot did you tie? WHICH KNOT DID YOU TIE?
BORDEN: I... I don't know.
ANGIER: HOW CAN YOU NOT KNOW?
BORDEN: I just... don't know.
ANGIER: YOU SON OF A BITCH!
BORDEN: Look, I'm really sorry...
[Clearly unwelcome, Borden starts to shuffle away.]
ANGIER: WOLVERINE COULD TOTALLY KICK BATMAN'S ASS.© 2006 Cleolinda Jones. Please quote or link back, do not repost. cleolinda.livejournal.com
BORDEN: YOU TAKE THAT BACK!
[And thus, a rivalry is born.]The Bordens' Apartment
[Apparently dead birds are the greatest aphrodisiac of all: Sarah and Borden are now married.]
BORDEN: Allow me to introduce my associate, Brother McNotme.
SARAH: Oh, are you in the clergy?
BORDEN: Yes. Yes, he totally is.
SARAH: Have you taken a vow of silence?
MCNOTME: …© 2006 Cleolinda Jones. Please quote or link back, do not repost. cleolinda.livejournal.com
BORDEN: No, actually he’s just mute. Terrible accident—brought home a stray dog, turned out to be a feral sewer rat, too awful to say more, etc. Look, I have a new trick--the bullet catch!
SARAH: I'm pregnant and completely dependent on you for support, and you're going to let random strangers shoot you?
BORDEN: No, no! See, the way the bullet catch works is that I palm the bullet before it even gets into the gun. I'll hand the gun to a volunteer, but there's only a gunpowder charge, it’s completely safe. I mean, unless, of course, some asshole in the audience puts a real bullet into the chamber, but who’s dick enough to do that?Performing the Bullet Catch Trick
ANGIER: WHICH KNOT DID YOU TIE???© 2006 Cleolinda Jones. Please quote or link back, do not repost. cleolinda.livejournal.com
[Assistant McNotme manages to wrestle the gun away long enough that Angier only maims
Borden. Two of Borden's fingers, however, cease to fing.]
MCNOTME: Awww, shit. Angier's New Act
[Cutter can't get work ingeneuring after the tank fiasco, so he partners up with Angier, who knows it wasn't his fault. They design an awesome collapsing birdcage that makes the bird disappear without killing it. The Cutter hires a hot new assistant, Olivia, who starts sleeping with Angier, and everything's turning up roses. One problem: the birdcage trick requires two audience volunteers.]
VOLUNTEER!BORDEN: BIRDCAGE SMASH!
[Bird and blood and lady volunteer fingers go flying.]Angier's Workshop
[Now no one wants to book Cutter or
CUTTER: See, what you need to do is steal Borden's new act. I mean, it's a great act, but he sucks
at selling it. Borden's Transported Man
BORDEN: Hey guys, this is my new act, hope you like it, it's better than the interlocking ring thing, which kind of sucked but I've only got eight fingers now so, you know, cut me a break, so here's what I'm gonna do, I'm gonna bounce this ball and run through this door and come out the other door before it stops bouncing, okay, here it goes. © 2006 Cleolinda Jones. Please quote or link back, do not repost. cleolinda.livejournal.com
THE AUDIENCE: *crickets*Angier’s Workshop
CUTTER: Of course, first, we have to figure out how he does it.
ANGIER: You think he has a brother?
CUTTER: I think he has a double.
ANGIER: Maybe he has a brother who is
OLIVIA: It's not a double. It's the same guy coming out of both doors, because they're both missing two fingers. And, I mean, in order to use a double, you'd have to find a double who was also
missing two fingers, right? The same
two fingers. Which you totally couldn't ever find. And you wouldn't just, you know, chop some guy's fingers off, because how fucked up is that? Right? Right?© 2006 Cleolinda Jones. Please quote or link back, do not repost. cleolinda.livejournal.com
CUTTER: We totally have to find you a double.Some Seedy Bar
CUTTER: Look! I found you an alcoholic, out-of-work actor who is also played by Hugh Jackman!
[Drinky O'Thespian gropes Olivia, vomits on her shoes and falls over.]
CUTTER: Gimme a few days. And fill the tank up with coffee.Angier's New Transported Man
[Drinky stumbles around a little bit but eventually pulls it together, because, as he tells us, he is a Shakespearean Ac-Tor. More importantly, the act now involves two identical Hugh Jackmans.]© 2006 Cleolinda Jones. Please quote or link back, do not repost. cleolinda.livejournal.com
OLIVIA: Awwwww yeah
, this is what I'm talkin' about.
[The act is fantastic and a huge success, except for the parts where Angier isn't the one onstage at the end to receive the applause, Drinky starts trying to blackmail him for more money, and Borden sneaks in, breaks Angier's leg, hijacks the show to advertise his own across the street, and waltzes out with Drinky trussed up and dangling from the ceiling.]
ANGIER: DAMMIT!!Angier's Cunning Plan
OLIVIA: So what you're saying is, you want me to go to Borden, offer to work for him, tell him
you sent me to find out his secrets, and then somehow actually get him to tell me his secrets?
ANGIER: Basically, yeah.
OLIVIA: You realize that this is probably going to involve me sleeping with him?© 2006 Cleolinda Jones. Please quote or link back, do not repost. cleolinda.livejournal.com
ANGIER: Ride 'em, cowgirl. Angier’s Plan: Not So Cunning As Previously Thought
BORDEN: So what you're saying is, Angier sent you here to work for me and fake me out by telling me you really came to find out my secrets, but you really
really came here to sell him out? And I'm supposed to believe that?
OLIVIA: You're forgetting that I also kind of hate him now.
BORDEN: Hey, we have something in common, then.
OLIVIA: So, sex?© 2006 Cleolinda Jones. Please quote or link back, do not repost. cleolinda.livejournal.com
BORDEN: Sure thing. Scenes from the Borden Marriage
BORDEN: Sarah! I magicked into your apartment and made you tea!
BORDEN: I hate tea.
BORDEN: Sarah! You’re having a baby! That’s fantastic!
BORDEN: I hate babies.
BORDEN: Sarah! I bought you a house! We’ll be so happy!© 2006 Cleolinda Jones. Please quote or link back, do not repost. cleolinda.livejournal.com
BORDEN: I hate home ownership, and I’m sleeping with Scarlett Johansson.
SARAH: *drinks*Angier's Workshop
OLIVIA: Look, I stole Borden's journal for you, so quit your bitchin'.
ANGIER: But it's in cipher! I can't read this!
OLIVIA: Also, I'm in love with Borden, so I'm leaving you and going to work for him for real.
ANGIER: DAMMIIIIIIIIT.Some Cemetery
ANGIER: Hey, Borden, gimme the keyword to your encrypted journal.
ANGIER: Gimme the key.
BORDEN: No. © 2006 Cleolinda Jones. Please quote or link back, do not repost. cleolinda.livejournal.com
ANGIER: Gimme the key.
ANGIER: Hey, I buried your "associate" alive.
BORDEN: TESLA! TESLA! Angier's Workshop
ANGIER: And thus, I will travel to Colorado Springs and throw all my family's money at this "Tesla" to build me a machine like Borden's while I use his name to decode the journal itself.
CUTTER [with arm in sling
]: Yeah, it's all fun and games until you get shot trying to bury someone alive. Count me out this time, man. The Laborrrratory of Nikola Tesla, Colorado Springs
ANGIER: Make me a machine.
ANGIER: Make me a machine.
ANGIER: Make me a machine, and I'll pay you a shitload of money.
TESLA: ... Maybe.© 2006 Cleolinda Jones. Please quote or link back, do not repost. cleolinda.livejournal.com
TESLA'S ASSISTANT: You know, it was a really cheap joke to name me "Alley" and give me a cat. The Decoding Is Finished!
So, Angier, I hope you enjoyed reading this. Tesla never built me a real transporter, Olivia gave you the journal because I told her to, I may have killed your wife, definitely stole your girl, AND you don't know my secret.
ANGIER: DAAAAAUGHHHHHHALKSJDLAKJLDJFSALDFJ.Hotel, Colorado Springs
SOME HOTEL MANAGER: Mr. Angier, I'm afraid that Gollum and the Goblin King fled Colorado Springs early this morning because Mr. Edison's thugs burnt their laborrrratory down. However, Mr. Tesla left a vast trapezoidal box here for you before he left.
AN ATTACHED NOTE FROM TESLA:
Well, after a great deal of hemming and hawing and moral reluctance, I have accepted your large sums of cash and made you a transporter machine that may or may not be evil. Enjoy.
© 2006 Cleolinda Jones. Please quote or link back, do not repost. cleolinda.livejournal.com
P.S. Please find enclosed 200 top hats and a copy of Mr. Alley's cat.
ANGIER: That really was a very cheap joke. Trouble, Chez Borden
[Borden and Sarah fight while Sarah drinks, Borden cheats on her, and their daughter hides with Brother McNotme. All this leads to Sarah going into the Borden workshop and hanging herself, never knowing that she could have had twin Christian Bales.
OLIVIA: Okay, I feel worse about your wife than you do. It's over, asshat. The New New Transported Man
[Angier figures out how to use Tesla's transporter and gets Cutter to manage his bookings: one hundred shows, with blind stagehands and mysterious tank-sized boxes that leave the theater each night. The act (which involves Angier stepping into a cylinder full of lightning, disappearing, and then reappearing on the balcony behind the audience) is fantastic and a huge success, except for the part where Borden sneaks backstage to figure out how it works, and... doesn't do anything at all.]
BORDEN: I'm telling you! I went backstage and he just fell through the trapdoor and drowned right in front of me! © 2006 Cleolinda Jones. Please quote or link back, do not repost. cleolinda.livejournal.com
JUDGE: DEATH BY HANGING!The Journal of the Journal of Alfred Borden
So I hope you enjoyed reading this, Borden, because I'm really enjoying having framed you for my murder.
BORDEN: AHHHHHHHHHH!Dead Man Walking, Some Prison
BORDEN: Go live for both of us, Brother McNotme.
BROTHER MCNOTME: ...
BORDEN: Be a good girl, Jess.
BORDEN'S DAUGHTER: *sniffle*
BORDEN: Here's your secrets, Lord Whatever, hope you--WHAT ANGIER HOW.© 2006 Cleolinda Jones. Please quote or link back, do not repost. cleolinda.livejournal.com
LORD ANGIER-WHATEVER: So now I have your freedom, your life, your daughter, AND your secrets! And I don't even care about your secrets [rips up papers
] because MY TRICK IS SO MUCH BETTER THAN YOURS! AHAHAHA! AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!
BORDEN: DAAAAAAAAAAMMIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIT!!!The Estate of Lord Whatever
CUTTER: Well, here's the Machine of Mysterious Doom that you bought, Lord Whatever, but I have to warn you that ANGIER WHAT.
ANGIER: Yeah, I faked my death, framed Borden, and took his daughter. I was always Lord Whatever; I just changed my name so my family wouldn't disown me. Tea?The Burned-Out Theater of Back Story and Exposition
ANGIER: Thanks for coming down here and helping me lock up the Machine of Mysterious Doom, Cutter. Pay no attention to the dozens of tanks full of Drowned Angier Duplicates. Very unfortunate side effect, never know if I'm the man in the box or the man who walks out, existential agony, etc. But hey, at least I have enough top hats for all of them.
CUTTER: Yeah, that's nice... gotta go establish an alibi somewhere, see you around.
[Angier is musing over the giant scam he's pulled off when suddenly, he hears footsteps in the darkness behind him. It is--BORDEN, who shoots Angier.]
BORDEN: That's right, it's ME. You and Cutter were right all along: I used a double for the Transported Man trick because I had a twin, and instead of leading a double life we led a single
life, taking turns playing Me and Not Me, and I was in love with our wife and he was in love with your assistant and both of them left us and--AND!--we had to chop a couple of fingers off because of that shit you pulled during the bullet catch.© 2006 Cleolinda Jones. Please quote or link back, do not repost. cleolinda.livejournal.com
ANGIER: It's a good thing... you shot me... in the gut... or I'd be dead... before you could finish... monologuing.
BORDEN: SHUT UP! It was the kind of secret agony and sacrifice you will never, ever know anything about!
ANGIER: Except for... the part where... I'm surrounded by... the bodies of... scores of doubles who... shared my consciousness and... one of us had to die... in agony... every night.
BORDEN: But none of that matters! It doesn't even matter that you sent my brother to hang! Because I'm still here, and Cutter's on my side now, and he's going to bring my daughter back to me! And we're going to live happily ever after, so that means I WIN!
[And with that, Angier utters his last words:]© 2006 Cleolinda Jones. Please quote or link back, do not repost. cleolinda.livejournal.com
ANGIER ...oh... dammit.
FIN.© 2006 Cleolinda Jones.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 License.
You may repost brief excerpts with author credit and a link back to this entry or the community as a whole. Please DO NOT repost this parody 1) without my name or a link back; 2) with any changes to the wording or language*; or 3) in its entirety on your journal, on your website, on a message board, on fanfiction.net, or on ANY OTHER PAGE ON THE INTERNET (seriously). Icons are always welcome, so have fun.
Tags: parodies, the prestige